A Conservative councillor in Keynsham has voiced significant concerns over pedestrian safety in Temple Street following the removal of a pelican crossing by the newly opened pedestrian area at The Centre.
Councillor Alan Hale (Cons, Keynsham South), who also works as a Senior Road Safety Officer for South Gloucestershire Council, spent half an hour counting pedestrians crossing Temple Street between Rock Road and High Street and also crossing at the top of Bath Hill.
During this time, the count revealed:
- Between 13:19 and 13:29hrs on the Temple Street stretch 46 people crossed the road on or near to the location of the old crossing point. Twenty people crossed in that time at the top of Bath Hill.
- Between 13:29 and 13:39hrs on the Temple Street stretch 30 people crossed the road on or near to the location of the old crossing point. Seventeen people crossed in that time at the top of Bath Hill.
- Between 13:39 and 13:49hrs on the Temple Street stretch 38 people crossed the road on or near to the location of the old crossing point. Six people crossed in that time at the top of Bath Hill.
The results of Cllr Hale’s survey mean that during a single thirty-minute period a hundred and fourteen people crossed the road on the stretch of Temple Street between Rock Road and High Street, whilst in the same time period forty-three people crossed at the top of Bath Hill. These numbers included small children as well as elderly and disabled residents.
Alan Hale said:
“The issue here is what road safety professionals call ‘desire lines’ – i.e. the location where people actually want to cross a road, as opposed to the place where a crossing has been put, because most people do not want to walk fifty metres in the opposite direction to where they are heading to reach a safe crossing point. Historically there was always the ability to cross Temple Street between Rock Road and High Street and that is what we should be providing.”
However, despite the results of this survey Cllr Hale ‘s has raised concerns that a response he received from a senior B&NES highways officer offered him no reassurance, only making reference to ‘monitoring the impact of the scheme’ and a ‘post scheme Safety Audit’ and stating that ‘The Council is planning to conduct a pedestrian access audit before the end of the financial year to assess the impact locally and more widely across the town. The study will assess routes, desire lines and what further pedestrian initiatives would be helpful.’
In his response to the highways officer, Cllr Hale wrote: ‘Things are unlikely to settle down when Sainsbury’s and all the other shops are attracting customers or on a Saturday when the Farmers Market is there. I do not recall where the Zebra is intended to be but unless it is where I was counting bodies today then we might be counting bodies removed from the road.’
Since his exchange of emails, the council have erected large plastic barriers along a length of Temple Street on Market Walk from almost the top of Bath Hill through almost to the new library building and on the opposite side a shorter run of barriers, presumably to deter pedestrians from crossing.
Alan Hale added:
“Human beings will take the shortest option and the newly erected barriers only serve to funnel pedestrians closer to the Bath Hill junction where they are either crossing almost on the bend where the traffic has less chance to see them, or at the opposite end where they are crossing almost on the mouth of the busy Rock Road junction, again close to other traffic manoeuvres.
“The signalised crossing should have been replaced in the new layout. I just hope that no-one is seriously injured or killed on this section of Temple Street before some form of formal crossing is installed, which ought to be light controlled to aid traffic flow and linked into the lights at Rock Road for the same reason. In the meantime we should be providing a temporary set of pedestrian lights”.